Monday, January 12, 2009
Flags of Our Fathers
2007 drama, directed by Clint Eastwood, about the real story behind the taking of and the men in that famous photo of marines erecting a flag on Iwo Jima island during WWII. That's what it's factually about, but it's really an examination of the complexities and realities of war, even those, like WWII, that the vast majority believes was necessary and justified. In other words, in war, nothing is simple. This is likely why Eastwood decided to follow it up with the Japanese side of the same story in Letters from Iwo Jima (which I've heard is actually even better). Now this lesson of the realities of war has been told and delivered by countless films since films were first shown and, really, there's not much new here. What makes this movie great is not the message, but how it's delivered. Eastwood crafted this tale with a richness and tone that makes for a fantastic package as a whole. The visuals are truly fantastic and the performances were great (with some truly noteworthy portrayals by Ryan Phillippe and Adam Beach), but it's the tone and over all feel of the movie I liked the most. This movie takes it's time without being slow. It has action without being just another seat shaking action flick. It addresses the families and personal relationships of the soldiers without either becoming too scattered thin or too focused on those relationships. Somehow Eastwood is able to cover all the bases he needs to without losing a clear sense of message, story or drama. It's almost like playing a song by the book and then hearing the exact same song done by a musical master. They're playing the same notes, but there's just something different about the way that they accent certain bars and space out certain notes. It's the same thing here, something about Flags "feels" right. There are better war movies out there but not many. If you want a compelling story that's also an in depth look at an actual, historical event, this is the flick for you. I look forward to Letters.